Thursday, May 28, 2009

Austin Harlotry

I heard Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the famous knitter and knitting writer also known as The Yarn Harlot, speak at Book People in Austin this evening. She was genius, of course. Despite getting over a cold, a cross-country flight and the trauma of getting Sock Summit 2009 registration up and running. I wouldn't have been able to do it.

The event began at 7:00. I got there at 6:30, and it was already standing room only. They had also already sold out of her newest book, so I bought a copy of Knitting Rules! for her to sign. I ran into and stood by several knitting friends, including Abbe, Stephanie, Julia, Amanda, Christina and Stacey. I stood behind some bookshelves that I could kind of lean on while still having a good vantage point. I don't think Book People realized how many people were going to be there...

She was funny, of course. I can't remember everything she discussed, but it ranged from dumb things non-knitters say in the presence of knitters, to how knitting changes your brain (for the better, I should note), to how knitters are so hard to pin down demographically. I'm kind of glad she didn't read directly from her book. Not that I wouldn't have wanted to hear from her book, it's just that, well, I can read myself, you know? I appreciate authors who appreciate that.

She did disclose something interesting about the Sock Summit 2009 registration earlier this week in response to a question from the audience. The Sock Summit had a mailing list of 12,000 people, and typically, 10% of those on a mailing list will actually register and/or attend a meeting like this. Stephanie and Amy told the IT guys they needed a server that would handle 100% -- and just to be safe, 200% of that number. The IT guys thought they were nuts, but assured the organizers that they server could handle 24,000 registrants at once. At 10:00am Tuesday, 35,000 people hit the server. That's close to 300% of the people on their mailing list. How could anyone have prepared for that?

She was very gracious when I got to talk to her. I told her to hang in there and that I was very excited about the Summit. Stephie took a great picture of the two of us holding each other's socks, and she said she'd see me in Portland. She was really very nice. I'm glad I got to meet her.

The sock she's holding is a project I started this morning so I'd have something to take a picture of and possibly work on during her talk -- although that didn't really happen. The yarn is a beautiful Malabrigo sock yarn in the colorway Cote d'Azur, and the pattern I'm using is a five-stitch sock pattern in sailor's rib from Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Knitted Socks. More about that later...

Postscript: Be sure to check out Stephi's photos of the event over at Flickr. Way better than mine!


  1. I was so happy to see you there! And I can't believe you've posted about it already. You are on.the.ball.

  2. 35,000 - now I feel very fortunate to be registered for any classes. 35,000!?!?! Surely that isn't 35,000 individual people, since you and I each hit the reload button about 20 times, but still......

    I've done sailor's rib and it's a really nice pattern - I hope you like it, too!

  3. I saw Stephanie the first time she was in Austin, 3 years ago (gosh, it seems a lot longer ago than that...) Anyway, she was great, and I wish I could have been there!

  4. Sounds like fun - I've never seen her but have always wanted to.

    The whole Sock Summit thing is amazing - and you must be happy to have gotten in! I really hope they do the same thing on the east coast next year!